He aha te mea nui o te ao – What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata – It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
This well-known Māori proverb resonates today more than ever. Last year in lockdown we came together as a council, as a community and as a country. Our staff and community wellbeing was at the forefront of every conversation we had and every decision we made. And at the heart of our response was compassion, communication, clarity of purpose, and collaboration.
At Hutt City Council our vision is to build a connected, resilient and inclusive city where all of our people thrive. Our Senior Leader Group has been working on what we could do to enable our staff to take care of their wellbeing. We know that life is busier than ever and most people are time poor. Everyone wants to be able to spend more time connecting to nature, being with their friends and whānau, to pause and have some time out from the busyness of everyday life. While council has never been the highest payer and indeed we cannot and should not compete with central government or the private sector there are some things we can do to enhance our people’s wellbeing and to attract and retain our talented staff.
Wellbeing is about addressing the needs of the whole person first and then the needs of council and the community we serve can be better met. We can and will be a high performing organisation if we take care of our people first.
As a Senior Leader Group we agree that the mental health and wellbeing of our people must be top of our agenda. Employee mental health is increasingly recognised as a predictor of overall health. And it’s widely accepted that job pressures and poor mental health contribute to lower levels of productivity and a variety of adverse medical and physical conditions.
And that is why today we shared with our staff enhancements to our wellbeing programme which includes some new initiatives that we want all of our staff to participate in to manage and enhance their wellbeing. We cannot let this fall by the wayside now or when we get back to the office. Of course our people need support during this pandemic, but they will also need support when it’s over. That’s why this way of thinking about wellbeing is so important.
Alongside other actions we have been taking, including our commitment to pay our staff the Living Wage, we are providing staff with a day’s leave each quarter to focus on wellbeing – time to do things that are important to them like spending time with whānau, doing exercise, time in our natural environment or doing what our people need to do to improve their wellbeing. We’re also giving our staff the chance to take a day off in the month of their birthday so that staff can have a total of 5 additional days of leave per year.
For us, these enhancements are a tangible demonstration of our value of Manaakitanga – which puts our people first by showing we care.
Me mahi tahi tātou mo te oranga o te katoa
We must work together for the wellbeing of all
Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive
Hutt City Council